On Friday I was a guest of specialist personal injury lawyers Digby Brown as they hosted the annual awards lunch for Spinal Injuries Scotland. The event recognised those who have made a special contribution to people with such injuries, whether through volunteering, fundraising, personal support or otherwise. Some of the recipients were themselves among those being treated; some were whole families with an injured person in their number. The actual awards were impressive wooden trophies individually carved by another spinal patient.
One thing such events do is give you, I was going to say some insight but it was really no more than a glimpse, of the services now on offer for people, many of them still young, whose first reaction to such an accident is to think their life is over. In conversation I also picked up on cases where recovery was achieved to an extent that one would not have thought possible. It is not surprising that people choose to dedicate themselves to this cause.
What was also notable is the depth of involvement that Digby Brown have with spinal injuries support (as with other charities associated with serious injury). This goes well beyond the provision of purely legal services, to support in a range of ways, from financial, to members of the firm giving up time to act as trustees and so forth, to providing for special events such as these – which may also have a fundraising purpose, though this one did not.
I am sure there are legal practices in various disciplines who have formed special relationships with clients or associated organisations in this way. It will benefit the practice by enhancing its specialist knowledge of the field – and client recognition of that knowledge, thus producing a virtuous circle of increasing mutual reliance and support, and enhancing the firm's name in the specialism concerned.
Digby Brown are one of those firms whose recent financial results belie the general view of a flat market. Clearly they have identified their niche and a way to achieve business growth, at least in part by providing services well beyond what one would naturally associate with a firm of solicitors. While they have managed to do so on a significant scale, there must be more local opportunities available, in various practice areas, to those who seek them out. You don't even have to be an ABS to do it.